Daniel Martin

Wisconsin

No. 23 Wisconsin takes advantage of ice-cold shooting from No. 13 Ohio State in win

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There are two key ways to beat Ohio State: 1) Force Deshaun Thomas to be the lone offensive option and dare some other Buckeye to beat you. 2) Keep up the offensive pressure and make shots, which stops Ohio State from turning defense into offense. Happen to do both in the same game and the end result looks something like Sunday afternoon in Madison.

No. 23 Wisconsin held Ohio State to just 37 percent shooting from the floor while shooting 54 percent themselves, on their way to a 71-49 win at the Kohl Center in Wisconsin.

The Badgers saw open looks on the offensive end for much of the first half and converted. Dribble penetration opened up shots on the perimeter for Ben Brust, who finished with 15 points, and Sam Dekkar, who had 13. Those two were integral to an 18-0 run that grew the Wisconsin lead to 24-6 with 9:22 to play in the first.

That was aided by their defensive efforts, which isolated Deshaun Thomas and forced Ohio State to look to other offensive options, which were ultimately not there.

Wisconsin played a game of numbers and won. It’s difficult to completely eliminated Deshaun Thomas. His 18 points are a testament to that. But Lenzelle Smith, Jr., Aaron Craft, and LaQuinton Ross combined to shoot 5-of-21 from the floor. The Badgers made someone else beat them and on Sunday and no one did.

That should raise a red flag for Ohio State, as it has all season. Other Big Ten teams at the top of the conference like Michigan, Michigan State, and Indiana all have multiple legitimate scoring options. The Buckeyes have not shown that they do.

As for Wisconsin moving forward, they finally cracked into the Top 25 this week and will continue to move up. This efficiency and defensive pressure could carry them far, but it depends on if they make shots. Its not every game that they will hang 39 points on a team in the first half or that the opponent’s cold shooting will spur the offense.

Because of that, it will come back down to defense. Can the Badgers make the offense click enough to complement what the defense brings? They have a favorable final five games. Of those, only No. 8 Michigan State should be a concern. They’ll likely be favored against Purdue, Nebraska, Penn State, and Northwestern.

Daniel Martin is a writer and editor at JohnnyJungle.com, covering St. John’s. You can find him on Twitter:@DanielJMartin_

Doug McDermott scores 2,000th career point, joins Larry Bird and Oscar Robertson

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Creighton forward Doug McDermott has been met with almost nothing but praise since he arrived on campus in 2010. Now, he has joined elite company.

McDermott scored his 2,000th career point Saturday in a win over Evansville, becoming just the third player in Missouri Valley history to reach that milestone through three collegiate seasons. The other two both went on to become NBA legends and Hall of Famers, Larry Bird and Oscar Robertson.

Bird played three seasons at Indiana State, averaging an incredible 30.3 points, 13.3 rebounds, and 4.6 assists per game. He was named the AP Player of the Year and won the John R. Wooden Award in 1978-79. He was also a First Team All-American selection.

Robertson played for Cincinnati from 1957-60, which at the time was a member of the Missouri Valley Conference. He averaged 35.1 points per game in his freshman season and finished his career having averaged 33.8 points, 15.2 rebounds, and 4.8 assists per game. He was a First Team All-American in all three seasons and was named the Sporting News Player of the Year three times.

McDermott is averaging 22.9 points and 7.8 rebounds per game this season and is a leading candidate for the National Player of the Year award. After a win Saturday, Creighton is 21-6 and 10-5 in Missouri Valley play.

Whereas Robertson and Bird were both Top 10 picks in their respective NBA drafts, McDermott could have a more uphill battle when he decides to go pro. DraftExpress currently predicts McDermott will go 46th overall in the 2013 draft, were he to declare, being selected in the middle of the second round without a contract guarantee.

Daniel Martin is a writer and editor at JohnnyJungle.com, covering St. John’s. You can find him on Twitter:@DanielJMartin_

Marshall Henderson at post-game press conference: “It’s Saturday night. I’m out.”

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Another short chapter in the sensational story of Marshall Henderson was written Saturday night and all it took was one quote. Literally.

After Henderson scored 25 points in an 84-74 overtime win over Georgia Saturday night, he had just one line for the media in attendance. The scene was short and it was simple. Nick Birdsong recounted it for AL.com:

“If it’s all the same,” Henderson said. “It’s Saturday night. I’m out.”

Then, he proceeded to evacuate the premises at Tad Smith Coliseum.

And that was that. The man had a place to be, and you can’t blame him. He’s the biggest man on campus and it was Saturday night. He had just helped lead his team to an overtime win and I’m sure he had an economics book to dig into, right? Can’t stick around to talk to the media when readings on monetary policy await you.

All jokes aside, the foundation of the Henderson persona has been built and now continues to grow. There was the timeless GIF of him taunting the Auburn student section. He also figured he’d let the world know that he thinks Ole Miss could beat Tennessee “10 out of 10 times“.

And it just keeps getting better.

Daniel Martin is a writer and editor at JohnnyJungle.com, covering St. John’s. You can find him on Twitter:@DanielJMartin_

Pregame Shootaround 2.17.13: Big Ten steals show Sunday with Ohio State-Wisconsin

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Game of the Day: No. 13 Ohio State vs. No. 20 Wisconsin (1:00 p.m. ET, CBS)

The Big Ten has routinely made for the best matchups on Sunday over the past few weeks and does not disappoint this time, either. Deshaun Thomas and the Buckeyes meet a Wisconsin team that has finally and deservedly cracked the Top 25.

The key for Ohio State offensively is getting Thomas help and keeping him from having to score more than about 25 percent of their overall points. This means Lenzelle Smith, Jr., Sam Thompson, Aaron Craft, and the emerging LaQuinton Ross need to contribute, or else Thomas is left to shoulder too much of the load.

It won’t be that simple on the road at the Kohl Center. Wisconsin is 179-17 in the past 12 seasons in that building. Even up three points in the final seconds, the lead is not safe. Just ask Michigan.

Expect it to be another bruising Big Ten matchup as the conference jockeys for postseason position.

Who’s Getting Upset?: Minnesota (-1.5) vs. Iowa (2:00 p.m. ET, Big Ten Network)

Iowa has hung around until the final minutes with a number of quality Big Ten schools, including Indiana, Ohio State, Wisconsin, and Michigan State. For that reason, they’re a trendy upset pick. The biggest battle for the Hawkeyes Sunday will be on the glass, where both teams rank in the nation’s Top 20. A win would add to a postseason resume.

Mid-Major Matchup of the Day: Wichita State vs. Illinois State (8:00 p.m. ET, ESPNU)

Wichita State has bounced back from a three-game losing streak with two straight wins, but they have no easy task Sunday against Illinois State. The entire Missouri Valley is a threat on any given night, as evidence by Indiana State’s loss to Bradley last night and Creighton narrowly avoiding a fourth straight loss by coming back to beat Evanville.

The Shockers need to get Cleanthony Early and Carl Hall involved. During that three-game losing streak, their failure to get into the offensive flow was perhaps the biggest problem. Illinois State will be looking to future pro Jackie Carmichael, who had a dominating 27-point, 13-rebound game against Bradley his last time out.

Five Things to Watch For

1) No. 3 Miami remains undefeated in ACC play and should be able to keep up its winning ways Sunday against Clemson. The Hurricanes had some trouble fending off Florida State in their last game before getting the win, but expect Shane Larkin to have another strong outing to follow his 22-point performance vs. FSU.

2) No.4 Michigan ran into a perfect storm in their big loss to No. 8 Michigan State on Tuesday. Take a very good Spartans team, put Michigan on the road, and put that game at the end of a brutal four-game stretch in the Big Ten, and double-digit losses like that can happen. They should bounce back Sunday against Penn State.

3) No. 9 Arizona has lost two games in a row and dropped from first in the Pac-12 into third at the moment. In those losses to Cal and Colorado, one key problem sticks out: three-point shooting defense. That means Arizona will have to keep an eye on the Utes’ shooters, including senior Jarred DuBois, who has a tendency to be hot and cold from behind the arc.

4) No. 12 Louisville responded to a five-overtime loss to Notre Dame with a good home win over St. John’s. Big East bottom dweller USF affords the Cardinals a chance to make it two straight wins. Despite the chance for a blowout, its worth watching Louisville guard Peyton Siva match up with South Florida guard Anthony Collins.

5) California has notched two straight quality wins, coming against Arizona and UCLA. They need to avoid a trap game loss to USC Sunday before they head to face No. 23 Oregon. The Bears Bay Area foes, Stanford, lost to the Trojans and hurt their NCAA tournament hopes this week. Cal hopes to avoid the same fate.

The Top 25

No. 3 Miami vs. Clemson (6:00 p.m. ET, ESPNU)

No. 4 Michigan vs. Penn State (12:00 p.m. ET, Big Ten Network)

No. 9 Arizona vs. Utah (3:00 p.m. ET, Pac-12 Networks)

No. 12 Louisville vs. South Florida (1:00 p.m. ET, ESPN)

No. 13 Ohio State vs. No. 20 Wisconsin (1:00 p.m. ET, CBS)

Other Notable Games

Minnesota vs. Iowa (2:00 p.m. ET, Big Ten Network)

James Madison vs. Delaware (7:30 p.m. ET)

Illinois vs. Northwestern (7:30 p.m. ET, Big Ten Network)

Wichita State vs. Illinois State (8:00 p.m. ET, ESPNU)

California vs. USC (10:00  p.m. ET, Fox Sports Net National)

Daniel Martin is a writer and editor at JohnnyJungle.com, covering St. John’s. You can find him on Twitter:@DanielJMartin_

Video: Tyreek Duren ties career high in La Salle’s win over St. Joe’s

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La Salle guard Tyreek Duren tied a career high with 29 points on 9-of-12 shooting to lift the Explorers over intracity rival St. Joe’s, 76-64. Duren was one of three scorers in double figures for a team that shot 62 percent from the floor on the afternoon.

With the win, La Salle clinches at least a share of the Big 5 title, the first time it has done that since 1997. Check out highlights below:

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Photo via La Salle Athletics

Daniel Martin is a writer and editor at JohnnyJungle.com, covering St. John’s. You can find him on Twitter:@DanielJMartin_

No. 25 Kentucky loses by 30 to Tennessee in first game without Nerlens Noel

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There was no glossing over the fact that Kentucky was going to have difficulties adjusting to the lack of star freshman Nerlens Noel in the middle of its defense. That being said, Saturday was ugly for the Wildcats, even with expectations being as they were.

Kentucky led for a total of 23 seconds against Tennesse at Thompson-Boling Arena in Knoxville, shooting just 36 percent in an 88-58 loss Saturday afternoon.

The absence of Noel is where the problems began for coach John Calipari’s team, but certainly not where they ended. Let’s begin with the obvious.

Without Noel in the middle, Kentucky looked like an NIT bubble team (at best) Saturday. The Wildcats were outrebounded by 13 and allowed Tennessee, a team that came into the game shooting 43 percent from the field on the year, to shoot 58 percent on the afternoon.

Kentucky defenders continued to work the Tennessee offense to the rim. The problem was, no Noel guarding the basket meant easy points.Tennessee took just twelve shots from outside the paint on Saturday and, because of that, shot 20-of-38 on the interior.

That forced Kentucky to collapse even further, which opened up the perimeter. The Volunteers hit nine of their twelve shots from outside the lane, including 5-of-5 shooting from three. Tennessee came into Saturday averaging just 63.7 points per game.

But Noel’s absence defensively doesn’t necessarily explain the offensive woes, too.

Point guard questions continue to linger in Lexington, especially after Ryan Harrow failed to score and fouled out in just 18 minutes on the floor. That came after Calipari started Jarrod Polson in his place. Polson finished with 11 points but no assists. And the problems move outward from there.

Polson was unable to guard Tennessee’s Trae Golden, who tallied 24 points on 6-of-8 shooting from the floor and 11-of-12 from the free throw stripe. Moving forward, how much of the defensive liability can be tolerated, especially considering the compromised interior?

With the lack of control on the perimeter, Willie Cauley-Stein fouled out after 23 minutes.

Alex Poythress was replaced in the starting lineup by Kyle Wiltjer, but that didn’t help to (excuse the ‘coach speak’) light a fire under him or any other applicable cliche. He, too, fouled out after posting four points. His lack of development is in part due to the lack of consistency at the point guard spot, but some of it could come down to effort especially considering his immense physical gifts and the flashes of dominance we have seen throughout the season.

There are a lot of pieces to this Kentucky puzzle. Taking Nerlens Noel out means it cannot be complete, but it is up to Harrow, Poythress, Wiltjer, Archie Goodwin, and others to prove how far this Wildcats team can go.

Daniel Martin is a writer and editor at JohnnyJungle.com, covering St. John’s. You can find him on Twitter:@DanielJMartin_